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2019 December 25 - 2020 January 14 [PEACE]

editorial  Let’s open path for nuclear-free world on 75th anniversary of atomic bombings

January 3, 2020

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which took place just before the end of World War II. It is important to make this year a turning point for opening a path for a world without nuclear weapons.

Last year, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the multi-island Caribbean nation, ratified the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty. Speaking at the 2019 UN General Assembly, the prime minister of the nation, Ralph Gonsalves, said, “Our small islands, – mere irrelevant pebbles in the eyes of some of the large, the rich and the powerful who ought to know better –, must now form part of the new foundation of international cooperation. Our challenges must be acknowledged, and our voices – long humoured but unheard – must be listened to as the consistent advocates on behalf of people, progress, partnership and principle.”

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has an area of 390 square kilometers, which is roughly equivalent to two-thirds of the total area of the 23 wards in Tokyo. The speech with its dignified tone of confidence by the leader of the “small island nation” indicates that the world is undergoing a major transformation.

Negotiations on nuclear arms had long been controlled by the two super powers, the United States and the former Soviet Union. In addition, the focus of the talks had not been on the elimination of nuclear weapons but on nuclear non-proliferation and how to create rules concerning the nuclear arms race.

Therefore, the adoption of the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons in 2017 in the UN by the overwhelming support of the UN member nations was epoch-making. This shows that the initiative in nuclear disarmament talks has shifted from a handful of superpowers to the majority of countries and global civil society.

Structural changes in the world that transpired in the 20th Century, such as the collapse of the colonial system, are now having a great influence in the field of nuclear disarmament. The hope and prospects for a nuclear-free world can be seen by this change in direction.

Together with governments which seek the abolition of nuclear weapons, global antinuke peace movements will continue to work hard to take a decisive step this year, the 75th year since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, toward a nuclear-free world.

This year, the NPT review conference will be held in New York City. This quinquennial event is an important international negotiation with 191 nations participating. On the sidelines of the conference, the world conference against A- and H-bombs will also take place there. Organizers include the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), the Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Japan Gensuikyo), and the Japan Congress against A- and H-Bombs (Gensuikin). The development of Hibakusha-led joint efforts encourages people’s movements inside and outside Japan, attracts international attention, and helps to raise expectations.

In the world, a large number of young people are taking actions to prevent the devastating outcome of the global climate crisis. The climate action and antinuke movement have the common goal of saving humanity from existential threats. In Japan as well, young people are working to carry on with the will and voices of Hibakusha.

Past related article:
> Antinuke conference will be held in NYC in April 2020 [September 22, 2019]

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